1) Proportional representation
Proposer – Cllr Chris Aldred
Seconder – Cllr Andy Brown
“Council resolves to write to H.M. Government calling for a change in our outdated electoral laws to enable Proportional Representation to be used for General, Local and Mayoral elections
First Past the Post (FPTP) originated when land-owning aristocrats dominated parliament and voting was restricted to property-owning men.
In Europe, only the UK and authoritarian Belarus still use archaic single round FPTP for general elections. Meanwhile, internationally, Proportional Representation (PR) is used to elect parliaments in more than 80 countries. Those countries tend to be more equal, freer and greener.
PR ensures all votes count, have equal value, and those seats won, match votes cast. Under PR, MPs and Parliaments better reflect the age, gender and protected characteristics of local communities and the nation. MPs & Councillors better reflecting their communities leads to improved decision-making, wider participation and increased levels of ownership of decisions taken.
PR would also end minority rule. In 2019, 43.6% of the vote produced a government with 56.2% of the seats and 100% of the power. PR also prevents ‘wrong winner’ elections such as occurred in 1951 and February 1974.
PR is already used to elect the parliaments and assemblies of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. So why not Westminster & Local Government here in North Yorkshire.”
Proposer Cllr.Bryn Griffiths
Seconder Cllr Joy Andrews
“That this Council:
1. Agrees that fracking activities in North Yorkshire are inappropriate for an area where the Council has declared a Climate Emergency and
2. In light of the Government’s statement that it will only frack where there is support, Council therefore wishes to ensure the Prime Minister, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Minister for State (Minister for Climate) are fully aware of the opposition to fracking in North Yorkshire and letters are sent to them to reinforce this Council’s opposition to fracking.”
Proposer Cllr Arnold Warneken
Seconder Cllr Kevin Foster
“This council believes that there is firm scientific evidence that fracking for oil and gas is incompatible with the need to achieve net zero carbon emissions sufficiently rapidly to avoid climate breakdown, furthermore it is in direct conflict with the Councils Carbon Reduction Plan and the emerging Climate Change Strategy, therefore North Yorkshire County Council in line with the current Governments policy is opposed to Fracking in North Yorkshire.”
Note the reasons for the matter being considered at the Council meeting itself have been given as:
1. It is bad practice to delay decision making unnecessarily and members will have had more than adequate time to form a judgement on the motion
2. North Yorkshire County Council has declared that it recognises there is a climate emergency and so issues relating to climate change need addressing with urgency
3. Since the last full council meeting there have been national government policy changes which brought the possibility of fracking back onto the agenda and it is important for the Council to clarify its position at the earliest possible opportunity.”
4) Fair Tax Declaration
Proposer Cllr Liz Colling
Seconder Cllr Neil Swannick
“I propose the council signs up to the Fair Tax Declaration, with required amendments to ensure compliance with the UK Public Procurement.
By signing up to the Councils for Fair Tax Declaration, councils demonstrate alignment to their values and encourage responsible tax practice through:
• leading by example on their own tax conduct
• undertake due diligence, including appropriate and proportionate financial assessment of suppliers within the parameters of the existing regulations
• joining calls for UK public procurement rules to change so that councils can do more to tackle tax avoidance and award points to suppliers that demonstrate responsible tax conduct.”
Full Council resolves to:
1. Approve the “Councils for Fair Tax Declaration”, with required amendments to ensure compliance with the UK Public Procurement.
2. Lead by example and demonstrate good practice in our tax conduct, right across our activities.
3. Ensure IR35 including Public Sector obligations continues to be applied and is implemented robustly and contract workers pay a fair share of employment taxes
4. Undertake due diligence, including appropriate and proportionate financial assessment of suppliers within the parameters of the existing regulations.
5. Promote Fair Tax Mark certification especially for any business in which we have a significant stake and where corporation tax is due.
6. Support Fair Tax Week events in the area, and celebrate the tax contribution made by responsible businesses are proud to promote responsible tax conduct and pay their fair share of corporation tax.
7. Support calls for urgent reform of UK procurement law to enable local authorities to better penalise poor tax conduct and reward good tax conduct through their procurement.
Full Council notes that:
1. This council spends over £500 m per annum with external suppliers
2. The pressure on organisations to pay their fair share of tax has never been stronger.
3. Polling from the Institute for Business Ethics finds that “corporate tax avoidance” has, since 2013, been the clear number one concern of the British public when it comes to business conduct.
4. Two thirds of people (66%) believe the Government and local councils should at least consider a company’s ethics and how they pay their tax, as well as value for money and quality of service provided, when awarding contracts to companies. 2022 polling (2022 ICM Omnibus, a nationally representative omnibus survey of c.2,000 adults across GB between 6 and 11 May 2022) commissioned by the Fair Tax Foundation from ICM.
5. Around 17.5% of public contracts in the UK have been won by companies with links to tax havens. Research commissioned by the Fair Tax Foundation (from DatLab ). The estimate relates to the period 2014-19, with the definition of ‘tax haven’ formulated on the basis of Tax Justice Network index workings.
6. It has been conservatively estimated that losses from multinational profit-shifting could be costing the UK some £17bn per annum in lost corporation tax revenues. Data is derived from https://missingprofits.world/ and supported by researchers from the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Copenhagen.
7. The Fair Tax Mark offers a means for business to demonstrate good tax conduct, and has been secured by a wide range of businesses across the UK, including FTSE-listed PLCs, co-operatives, social enterprises and large private businesses.
8. Paying tax is often presented as a burden, but it shouldn’t be.
9. Tax enables us to provide services from education, health and social care, to flood defence, roads, policing and defence. It also helps to counter financial inequalities and rebalance distorted economies.
10. As recipients of significant public funding, local authorities should take the lead in the promotion of exemplary tax conduct.
11. More action is needed, however, as current and proposed new UK procurement law significantly restricts councils’ ability to penalise poor tax conduct.
12. UK cities, counties and towns can and should stand up for responsible tax conduct - doing what they can within existing frameworks and pledging to do more given the opportunity, as active supporters of international tax justice.